Gunjan is a senior economics major in the College of Arts and Sciences. In addition to writing for The Daily Sun, she is the Vice President for the Cornell Dems and is part of an economics research team. Many times she can be found staring off into space, with perhaps deep thoughts, who knows? She is also an avid Outer Space enthusiast and hopes to own her own space rocket one day. Common Sense appears on alternate Tuesdays this semester. She can be reached at [email protected]
November has been a brutal month for me. I suffered immense heartbreak the night of the election with millions of people across the world, and then, a few weeks later, unexpectedly lost my 27-year-old cousin, whom I love very much. It’s been a month in which my worldview has been upended. Narratives of right and wrong, of a just world, have all been called into question. But these are larger issues that I will have to work through in due time – with hard work that will require a lot of reflection and introspection.
As the Vice President of the Cornell University Democrats, I gave these remarks to our general body members the day after the election. A meeting that was supposed to be for all intents and purposes, one of celebration, was instead one in which we had to reel from an outcome that almost none of us had prepared for. The message encapsulated here is one I want to convey to the whole Cornell community. So we stand here at a different meeting than we thought. We stand here mourning the loss of what could have been and in fear of what will be.
There’s a chill in the air, pitch-black darkness as I lug my suitcase down the steps. The rolling of the suitcase wheels on the uneven concrete reverberates through the air when at this time of night silence dominates. At 4 a.m., it’s easy to imagine a whole world only inhabited by me with little sign of life and not a soul in sight. It takes approximately 7 minutes to walk from my apartment to the baker flagpole bus stop. At 4 a.m. those seven minutes feel harrowingly long.
This is an incredibly stressful time. We’re applying to jobs, we’re applying to grad school, we’re planning out the next chapter of our lives. Suddenly we’re confronted with the fact that a few months from now we will no longer be students of this institution and will no longer have a tailored answer for relatives and friends that ask what we are doing with our lives. For many of us, this is an incredibly uncertain time. For the first time in my life, I have no idea where I’ll be 6 months from now.
In the Indian community it often feels as though your worth is derived from your weight. Six months before I’m due to see my family in India again I’m already dreading the opening greetings which will undoubtedly revolve around how much weight I’ve gained or lost since the last time I’ve seen them. Either way it’s not a pleasant experience. This dread was reinforced a few days ago when I was went home for the weekend, visited a family friend’s house and was greeted by the exclamations of how much weight my sister and I had lost since the last time we’d seen these people. Outrageously one of the ladies at the house started to talk about how her 11-year-old daughter was “healthy” for her age (aka overweight) — and trust me she looked perfectly fine.
I’m baffled. I’m appalled. I hope the majority of Americans are as well. Last Friday evening, a rally that Donald Trump scheduled in Chicago was canceled and tensions between protesters and his supporters reached incredible new heights. As expected, the newscasters began asking, “Was Trump to blame for the violence we were seeing?”
Not all Muslims are terrorists. Why does this even have to be said? On Friday November, 13th, my heart broke once again. Staring at the television screen and seeing yet another terrorist attack play out with the death toll rising in front of my eyes, I felt sick to my stomach. The most devastating thing is that this was not the first time and it’s unlikely to be the last.